An agronomist at the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Dr Joel Akinfasoye says the cultivation of tomato will reduce unemployment in the country.
Akinfasoye spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ibadan.
He urged government at all levels to focus more on employment of the youth, women and graduates by venturing into tomato production and other areas of agriculture.
Akinfasoye, who is the Head of Horticultural Consultancy and Venture Unit, NIHORT, said that tomato was one of the most important fruit vegetables grown and consumed worldwide.
“Management of tomato farm commences from nursery establishment; it requires nursery because the seeds are very expensive and tiny,’’ he said.
According to Akinfasoye, one very vital requirement for dry season tomato production is irrigation as the availability of water is very important.
He added that soil test intended to know the initial nutrient available in the soil was essential as well as application of fertiliser to augment the nutrient.
“Within 100 – 110 days after planting, tomato is ready for harvest,” Akinfasoye said.
He said the health benefits of tomato included better eyesight, as it produced an antioxidant material that prevented many diseases.
Akinfasoye said that the lycopene content that made tomato red in colour was an anti-cancer agent.
“Economic benefits of tomato are enormous, so many industries depend on tomato as raw materials, for example puree tomato juice companies depend on its production.
“So many youths, women, adults also depend on tomato production for their livelihood.
“Let government provide incentives not in cash, but in terms of inputs such as provision and preparation of land, provision of quality seeds, irrigation equipment, fertiliser, among others.
“This will encourage the people to produce more, moreover industries that will absorb the produce should be established; this will prevent glut in market,” he said.